Scotland, Small Business, Social Media & 2018

I’ve been thinking a lot about where Scotland lies in the grand scheme of things -business wise. When we look at the global start up scene, the US leads the way, but I’m focused on small businesses and small businesses using social media. I’m trying to place where Scotland’s small businesses sit on a global scale when it comes to innovative social media usage. My hunch is that as a relatively reserved nation, we struggle with promoting ourselves and our businesses, leaving us a little behind on social.

As we put our heads down and get working on 2018, I’ve drawn up a list of 3 small business social media trends that I think and hope will gain more traction amongst Scotland’s small businesses.

Branding Then Sales NOT Sales Then “Oh gosh, let’s get a brand”

I’ve spoken about this before and I’m going to speak about it again. Small businesses need to understand the value of a brand. As small business owners, the bottom line is key, money needs to be coming in so it’s obviously tempting to simply post adverts on social media from the get go. I’m not saying don’t do this, because you definitely should to survive however, dedicate even more time to brand building. Form relationships, publish entertaining and valuable content whilst telling your story and throughout all of this tell the world what you business is about and stands for. Dedicating time to building your small business’ brand will make clinching sales easier this time next year.

Scotland Is Being Influenced - Slowly

Influencer marketing isn't a fad or even anything new. It’s been done for years. When Pepsi ask Beyonce to star in an advert, that is essentially influencer marketing, we just give it a different name; ‘endorsements’. Influencer marketing is the current state of ‘endorsements’. Social media has brought us to a point where everyone has a platform to endorse a product or brand. In Scotland, hospitality businesses are working with influencers reasonably effectively, however, often this results in a brief spike in attention that falls away after a short while. Food bloggers are easy to find and it takes a bit more digging to find individuals with more niche interests - but they are out there. My hope and belief is that in 2018, even more small businesses in even more sectors start to explore influencer marketing. I’d also like to see businesses build stories around their influencer marketing campaigns to give them some extra longevity and a greater impact.

Let’s Work Together

It’s 2018; Facebook has matured, so has Twitter and Instagram is about to complete its transition from fun social platform to business tool. When platforms mature, they become expensive as shareholders demand revenues (these revenues almost exclusively come from advertising). To increase ad revenue, Facebook (and Twitter too) are slashing organic reach. Despite it's affordability when compared to other mediums, small businesses cannot afford to regularly pay to ensure their content reaches their audience. To get round this (in part) small businesses need to work together. Creating engaging content with other businesses with whom you share an audience is one way to make your brand’s message travel further. In only the second week of the year, 95 Social have helped one client produce two pieces of content with other businesses. The reach of these pieces of ‘collaboration content’ has been staggering. Both have dramatically exceeded the average reach of our clients’ regular content - in one case reaching an audience over 90x larger than that of an average post and in the other, our video being picked up and shared by Vogue.

This year, I’ll be focusing on delivering our clients a service that is forward thinking and modern. Social media is still an incredibly useful tool for small business (a pretty obvious statement) despite rising ad prices and dwindling organic reach. It’s just that we need to adapt and use each platform in a way that is understanding of the way they currently are.

All the best for 2018!

#SmallBusiness #SocialMedia #Facebook #Twitter

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